Disney is about to borrow a shotgun from your grandparents’ childhood. The next animated Disney “live-action” reboot is rumored to be a new version of Bambi. But, because the story of the original 1942 movie depicts a hunter shooting Bambi’s mom with a shotgun, you’ve really got to wonder how this is all going to play out in the new version.
On Tuesday, We Got This Covered reported that a live-action Bambi movie is apparently in the works at Disney. To be clear, this has not been officially announced by Disney, yet, but if true, is slightly shocking news.
For one thing, though the live-action version of The Lion King did okay at the box office, it was critically savaged in a way that would make even Scar and the Hyenas blush. People may have gone to see the new realistic-looking animals go through the motions of the original Lion King, but it doesn’t mean it was as well-loved as the original. Then again, the live-action Aladdin (also a critical snooze) was a smash-hit on the global scale, proving that families don’t really care about the critical consensus of a movie that they know the kids are going to love. Plus, other than some predictable trollish backlash online, the news that a live-action Ariel in a new Little Mermaid would be played by black actor Halle Bailey, was mostly met with happy enthusiasm. So, bottom line, the Disney live-action reboot craze isn’t going away anytime soon.
Still, if the Bambi reboot turns out to be real, it’s hard to really imagine families getting pumped about this one. Famously — and unlike The Lion King — the talking-animal world of Bambi features humans, too, specifically a hunter who kills Bambi’s mom with a shotgun. How the hell is Disney going to handle that one? And who would sign up for playing said hunter? If you’re going to do a live-action Bambi, then that means, on some level, there’s going to be a legit shotgun in a new Disney movie.
In terms of precedents in Disney’s past, this isn’t super shocking. That insane kidnapper/pawn shop owner Madame Medusa in the original Rescuers is running around with a loaded shotgun, too. But this isn’t 1977 or 1942. Violence in the media may not have a real link to actual violence, but still, do we really need a slightly more hardcore Bambi reboot in the 21st century? I mean, I’m all for Leslie Jones or someone equally talented playing the voice of Thumper ala’ the contemporary reimagining of Timon and Pumba, but a big part of Bambi is super-depressing. And though you could make a general argument that families loved the new Lion King and Aladdin, regardless of reviews, it’s really tough to make a case for the live-action Dumbo, another Disney movie rebooted from an animated classic that is also a huge downer.
The upshot to all of this is that for the first time in what feels like decades, we can all be prepared for the depressing pathos of the classic Bambi. In November, with a flick of the finger, the entire vault of animated Disney movies will be streaming on Disney+. So, yeah, at least you can rewatch Bambi and decide for yourself, and your family, just how traumatic that death scene really is.
Disney+ launches on November 12. As of this writing, the rumored Bambi reboot has not been confirmed.